Reko Diq case: Balochistan pursuing dispute internationally

Tethyan’s claims pending at international forums : govt’s counsel.

November 14, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A counsel for the government of Balochistan on Wednesday apprised the Supreme Court that they were pursuing the Reko Diq mining lease agreement case at international arbitration forums and were hopeful of a positive outcome.

Ahmer Bilal Soofi, counsel for the Balochistan government, appeared before a three-member bench including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, that resumed hearing of a plea moved by the counsel for Dr Abdul Haq Baloch seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the provincial government for alleged violation of May 25, 2011 order of the court.

Soofi said that the Tethyan Copper Company Australia (TCCA) had invoked the jurisdiction of international arbitration over bilateral commercial agreement between both governments for mining lease of Chagi’s gold and copper reserves. He said that the company’s stance was initially rejected by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSD) and afterwards, they went to International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) for arbitration. He said that identical claims of the company were pending at both tribunals.

When questioned whether the proceedings in Pakistan will be binding upon the international arbitration forums, the counsel replied that they had already pointed out the jurisdiction of the international tribunals and claimed that the Supreme Court had real jurisdiction.

Raza Kazim, counsel for Dr Abdul Haq Baloch, strongly objected to such a stance and claimed that several hearings had taken place but the provincial government’s counsel was not providing him the required documents. Soofi contended that they will not leave the field open for the respondents and will fervently pursue their case at international forums.

The chief justice also told Kazim that they cannot merely go with a news item till authentic documents were presented before the bench. Kazim said that rejection of TCCA’s request for renewal of leasing licence forced the company to go for international arbitrations. The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing till Thursday.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2012.


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